The 19 most likely to shine brighter in 2019

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THE coun­try’s fourth Miss Uni­verse con­tin­ues to be an in­spi­ra­tion to many. Her mes­sage: if you work hard at your goals, con­tinue to be the per­son that you are, and remain grate­ful for each bless­ing, life will re­ward you in so many ways.

Now based in New York City where she will per­form her nu­mer­ous func­tions as the uni­verse’s most beau­ti­ful, Gray will surely seize ev­ery mo­ment to make the most out of her reign and make our coun­try more proud.


YOUNG film­maker Mikhail Red is def­i­nitely paint­ing tin­sel­town in more vi­brant col­ors and hues. Af­ter a mag­nif­i­cent out­put with his de­but movie Bird­shot,

which he fol­lowed up with the im­pres­sive Neo­manila,

Red has more in store with his third fea­ture film, Eerie,

a horror movie which had its pre­miere in Sin­ga­pore a few months back.

The son of ac­claimed film­maker Ray­mond Red con­tin­ues to show his met­tle and is about to start on the zom­bie movie Block Z soon. The project was tem­po­rar­ily put on halt, which prompted Mikhail to re­sign as film­maker, but the mega-pro­duc­ers lured him back with prom­ises of more projects this year. The promis­ing di­rec­tor re­con­sid­ered, but our sources claimed that he for­got to ask for in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty own­er­ship for this spe­cial project which he should have in­sisted.


EV­ERY once in a while we get to meet some­one who in­stan­ta­neously sweeps us off our feet af­ter just a few min­utes of con­ver­sa­tion. New ac­tress Bar­bara Ruaro had a good run in 2018 and looks for­ward to break­ing new grounds this year.

Ruaro, who is also a staunch men­tal-health ad­vo­cate, made us take no­tice of her raw and splen­did per­for­mances in films like Timmy Harn’s Dog Days and Joel Ruiz’s Kung Paano Siya Nawala. She also dipped her fin­gers in film pro­duc­tion, shoot­ing in the south for a project, ti­tled The Art of Li­gaw.


GLO­RI­OUS is one good ad­jec­tive to de­scribe the year that was for Tony Labrusca, no doubt the break­out star of 2018. His dig­i­tal movie with the age­less An­gel Aquino be­came the talk of town, the trailer of which scor­ing an un­prece­dented num­ber of hits and views on the In­ter­net. He also starred in two dar­ing films—ML and Dou­ble Twist­ing Dou­ble Back—for local in­de­pen­dent film fes­ti­vals.

Labrusca will be el­e­vated to lead­ing man sta­tus for his next TV se­ries Mea Culpa. He is also work­ing on two films this year, and there’s the Darna movie also wait­ing for his free time.


AF­TER grad­u­at­ing from the Col­lege of Saint Be­nilde, Valdes tried to check out the act­ing scene by­way of a role in Gian­carlo Abra­han’s Paki, Cinema One Film Fes­ti­val’s Best Film. The de­but role gar­nered a best sup­port­ing ac­tor nom­i­na­tion for Valdes which im­me­di­ately ig­nited the fire in him to chart a course in the per­form­ing arts. Valdes spe­cial­izes in the art of move­ment and dance, and he is slowly learn­ing the ba­sics of be­ing an ac­tor. He has just fin­ished a film where he plays the ti­tle role of a robot, in­tended for the next edi­tion of Cine­malaya.

Valdes is the great grand­son of Na­tional Artist Fer­nando Amor­solo, and the son of thes­pian Eula Valdes. His fa­ther is Ron­nie Quizon, the son of Com­edy King Dol­phy.


THE new year brings new hope to Der­rick Monasterio, who, if he plays his cards right, should be the next big ac­tor of his home net­work. Tall, hand­some, hunky, a peo­ple per­son and very pleas­ant, it is just sad that he’s not given the big push that he so right­fully de­serves. Per­haps he should con­sider find­ing a new home when his con­tract ex­pires.


FOR some­one who was not afraid to get into the arena where big-time film sharks swim, Tiri is highly com­mend­able as the brave movie pro­ducer who gave us such en­dear­ing films, like Patay na si He­sus and Dedma Walk­ing. His T-Rex Film is qui­etly pre­par­ing for new, ex­cit­ing, and in­tel­li­gent projects that will again surely send rip­ples in the film in­dus­try that’s still mo­nop­o­lized only by a priv­i­leged few. He de­serves our sup­port all the way.


STILL at the peak of be­ing a fash­ion model, April Tanhueco wants to ex­plore other av­enues like act­ing for film and tele­vi­sion. She is setting her eyes on the dig­i­tal shows that are mush­room­ing all over the In­ter­net and ca­ble TV.

Very en­tre­pre­neur­ial, Tanhueco also co-owns a beauty busi­ness, called Pret­tis­er­rie Hair and Nail Sa­lon in the To­mas Mo­rato area. This beau­ti­ful bun­dle of en­ergy has also ven­tured into host­ing for cor­po­rate events and pageants. A woman of many gifts, in­deed.


HE has done hun­dreds of movies to date but Mon Confiado con­tin­ues to sur­prise us ev­ery year. In 2018 he took home two act­ing tro­phies for his flawless per­for­mance in Those Long Haired Nights—one from the res­ur­rected Fa­mas and an­other one from the Ur­duja Her­itage Film Awards. His role as Emilio Aguinaldo keeps on hog­ging the big screen—first with Hen­eral Luna, then last year with Goyo.

State­side, the film he shot in the United States, is now ready for in­ter­na­tional re­lease, and he is wrap­ping up work for the Korean movie Pack­ages, where he costars with Korean ac­tor Kwak Do-won. Mon Confiado is cer­tainly go­ing places.


SYLVIA SANCHEZ’S lovely daugh­ter Ria is slowly mov­ing away from the shadow of her mother and equally tal­ented brother Arjo. Ini­tially a re­luc­tant ac­tress, Atayde has warmed up quite well and has ab­sorbed all the learn­ings that she can get from her big breaks on tele­vi­sion. We hope to see her star in a break­through movie this year.


WE al­ways look for­ward to watch­ing Nelsito Gomez per­form on­stage. Not long ago, he gave two out­stand­ing per­for­mances: as the cen­tral char­ac­ter in My Name is Asher Lev, and as the gay and Catholic painter Al­fonso Os­so­rio in An­gry Christ. Be­fore the year 2018 was over, Gomez ap­peared along­side Ricky Davao in Baka Na­man Hindi (A Flea in Her Ear).

He flew to the UK to do re­search for fu­ture projects, watched 14 plays and ex­plored many pos­si­bil­i­ties. Gomez formed a group called Com­pany of Play­ers in Stream­lined Theater, and they will be do­ing staged read­ings very soon.


SHE has re­mained an un­der­rated ac­tress de­spite be­ing a mem­ber of the il­lus­tri­ous Eigenmann show­biz clan, but the cool per­son that she is, Max Eigenmann be­lieves that every­thing hap­pens at the right time. She wowed film crit­ics when she did Lem Lorca’s Ned’s Project, and even took home a best sup­port­ing ac­tress tro­phy. A young mother of two lovely boys, Eigenmann has al­most wrapped up her next big film project with young film­maker Ray­mund Ribay Gu­tier­rez, un­der the pro­duc­tion of in­ter­na­tion­ally ac­claimed film­maker Bril­lante Men­doza. So watch out for her when the film does the rounds of in­ter­na­tional fes­ti­vals this year.


AS early as last year, Gerick Manalo was be­ing touted as the next big celebrity chef. Good looks, a pas­sion for no-non­sense gas­tro­nomic cre­ations us­ing healthy in­gre­di­ents, and youth all make Manalo the most promis­ing among the young chefs we have to­day.

For 2019 Manalo told us that he will un­wrap a new busi­ness which he will share first with BUSI­NESSMIR­ROR. And hope­fully, a new travel and food life­style show will be in the off­ing so we can see him more on the small screen.


WE al­ways cheer for un­der­dogs. Even when Maymay Entrata was in­side the Pi­noy Big Brother’s house, we felt that there was some­thing in her that will some­day un­ravel, sim­i­lar to the story of the ugly duck­ling that turned into a princess goose. So when she even­tu­ally won the search and her tan­dem with Ed­ward Bar­ber gained pop­u­lar­ity, we felt we hadn’t seen noth­ing yet of her.

Entrata is a fa­vorite of local de­sign­ers be­cause of her frame and nat­u­ral model fea­tures. So it was no won­der when she sashayed at the 2018 Arab Fash­ion week in Dubai in Novem­ber, wear­ing the cre­ations of ac­claimed de­signer Furne One.


THE farmer from Bi­col whose pas­sion for act­ing keeps him from mind­ing the a 10-hour bus ride to the big city just to au­di­tion for a role. His per­sis­tence and per­se­ver­ance have started to pay off by way of two big movie roles that we will def­i­nitely watch this 2019.

Felix has fin­ished Mina Anud, the de­but film of Ker­win Go shot in a quaint surf­ing des­ti­na­tion in Que­zon; and he has also wrapped up work for the Cine­malaya en­try Ani, codi­rected by Kim Zuñiga and San­dro del Rosario.


WE al­ways loved break­through women film­mak­ers. The last one we cheered for was Hannah Espia, who im­pressed us with the film Tran­sit. Espia is now based over­seas and mar­ried to a for­eigner.

2018 saw the rise of Dwein Baltazar, who di­rected two very good films: Gusto Kita with All My Hy­po­thal­a­mus and Oda sa Wala. She also wrote the screen­play for the ro­man­tic movie Exes Bag­gage, starring An­gel­ica Pan­gani­ban and Carlo Aquino. We are quite sure that Baltazar and her works will fig­ure promi­nently dur­ing the awards sea­son.


THE well-loved con­cert pro­ducer who took a big gam­ble on Jed Madela and won is Filipino Chi­nese Calvin Chua. Dubbed as the fu­ture mega-pro­ducer, Chua is the man be­hind the very suc­cess­ful con­cert of Madela at the Araneta Coli­seum a few months ago.

Al­ways keep­ing a low pro­file, Chua has also bankrolled projects for artists, such as Ron­nie Alonte, Louise de los Reyes, Chris­tian Bautista, and some of the GMA hunks like Rocco Na­cino and Der­rick Monasterio. He starts this year with a bang with a con­cert, billed as The Aces, fea­tur­ing Lani Misalucha, Jona and Dar­ren Es­panto. The show takes off in Cebu on Fe­bru­ary 2 at the Cebu Wa­ter­front Ho­tel and then moves to the Davao SMX Con­ven­tion Cen­ter on March 2.


BEAU­TI­FUL and be­witch­ing chanteuse Nicole Asen­sio is from the fa­mous Lau­rel clan of artists and politi­cians. She knew early on that singing is where she will find the most ful­fill­ment, that’s why she has pur­sued this path. Asen­sio is a much sought-af­ter per­former for cor­po­rate shows and events, as she can also do host­ing. We learned that she is will­ing to give act­ing a try this year, and with such bear­ing, charm and wit, we’re quite sure that she will also ex­cel in front of the cam­eras.


HE first made many take no­tice of his act­ing chops as the best friend of the lead gay char­ac­ter in Jun Lana’s Die Beau­ti­ful. That per­for­mance won him var­i­ous act­ing awards and opened many doors for Visayan ac­tor Chris­tian Bables.

He was sup­posed to play the lead role in the fol­low-up movie Born Beau­ti­ful but con­flicts and con­tro­ver­sies took over and he lost the project to an­other ac­tor. Shaken and scarred but not giv­ing up, Bables prayed for an­other chance and it was gen­er­ously given to him by di­rec­tor Chito Roño, who cast him for the lead role in Sig­nal Rock. Bables will surely be a fron­trun­ner in the best lead ac­tor race come awards sea­son. He will surely go a long, long way in the act­ing busi­ness. ■


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